#TurksandCaicos, July 14, 2021 – Since 1992, the TCHTA has ardently represented its members providing support through government advocacy, community connectivity, and numerous value-added support programs and services. In 2017, Chairman and former President, Nikheel Advani, set a five-year strategic plan in motion which became the blueprint for progression in the Association’s efforts to represent its members and the wider hospitality community in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
The TCHTA’s 2021-2023 Board of Directors was elected to office in March of this year, with Mr. Trevor Musgrove of Discovery Tours & Adventures leading the body as President for the two-year term. The Board quickly re-established the association’s committees and set out to continue building on the work in progress and the fulfillment of the new President’s goal to provide enhanced support to small businesses connected to the hospitality industry in these islands.
In its first 100 days, the TCHTA’s committees have realigned their missions with new Chairpersons and volunteers from the membership. Advocacy, Education, Marketing, Sustainable Tourism, Villa, Crime & Security, Water Sports, and Allied (non-accommodation) Membership are the banners under which the collective will work to fulfill its commitment to members and to Turks & Caicos islanders affected directly or indirectly by this critical industry.
President Musgrove and his team have held valuable meetings with stakeholders in the public sector: Premier, Hon. C. Washington Misick; Deputy Governor, Her Excellency Anya Williams; Minister of Health, Hon. Ejay Saunders; Minster of Tourism, Hon. Josephine Connolly; and Minister of Immigration, Hon. Arlington Musgrove.
These early meetings served to congratulate the dignitaries on their new roles, and to pledge a continued commitment to partnership in achieving advancement for the industry and the country at large.
As the country’s borders reopened and the COVID-19 vaccine became available, Turks & Caicos was fortunate to see a steady increase in arrivals to our shores which has now risen to pre-pandemic levels. This has brought with it incidences of overwhelm at our international port of entry which calls for immediate attention.
The TCHTA addressed this issue with the Minister of Immigration, pledging assistance with several ways its members could help offset the negative fallout from the overcrowding at the airport while the Ministry works towards its bigger plans to address the issue.
The Minister and his team are a group of highly motivated individuals, aware that the current infrastructure leaves little room for major change, but positive they can effect immediate relief through short-term changes currently being actioned which include physical enhancements and stronger staffing management.
The TCHTA was allowed to assist with sponsoring and distributing water at the open-air terminal to make travellers more comfortable during their wait and the association will continue to support the Ministry in any way possible in the interim.
The TCHTA extended congratulations to the Deputy Governor and her team at the Ministry of Health for their stellar achievements in navigating the nation’s health throughout the crisis and having the goal of a 70% fully vaccinated population in close reach.
In meeting with the Minister of Health, the CDC level was the main topic of discussion. TCHTA members were instrumental in providing information required to aid the MOH as they lobbied the CDC to lower the country’s risk level in alignment with our low rate of COVID cases per capita and our success with the vaccination of residents throughout the country.
The meeting with the Minister of Tourism was an opportunity to learn more about the management of the TCI Assured Portal. Concerns by travellers to TCI posted on public travel forums and shared with resort reservationists about delays in authorization and an inability to receive timely assistance during the process was addressed.
The Ministry assured the association that though authorizations are being granted closer to the time of travel due to a heavy volume of entry requests, all travellers have received their approvals prior to their travel times. The Ministry also shared that their top priority is resolving the backlog of communications and ensuring responses to emails and phone messages are delivered within 24 hours.
The issue of illegal beach vending was also discussed, as the number of these solicitors is growing at alarming levels in high traffic tourist areas. The TCHTA and Ministry have pledged to work together with relevant stakeholders and departments to properly regulate this sector and address the matter holistically.
Members of the TCHTA’s Human Resources committee met with Labour Commissioner, Mr. Edwin Taylor. Mr. Taylor educated the group on the expected increase in manpower and portfolio changes within his department that will aid in quicker turnaround times and added process efficiency.
Mr. Taylor welcomed feedback and suggestions from the group and shared that the department’s employment registration drive is ongoing. He thanked the HR group and TCHTA members for successfully placing the majority of the individuals who were once registered as unemployed within their properties and businesses.
Director of the Turks & Caicos Tourist Board, Pamela Ewing, gave remarks at the TCHTA’s Annual General Meeting in March. Since then, the TCHTA’s Marketing committee has met with Ms. Ewing and her team to align with the marketing plans for the destination. Several initiatives are on the calendar for the remainder of the year, and the TCHTA will be sharing those opportunities with members as they are fleshed out.
The association has received an overwhelming response to the decision to launch the 3rd edition of the Who’s Who in Business TCI magazine. As such, the Marketing committee announced the relaunch of its premier publication, Destination Turks & Caicos Islands magazine which was not released in 2021.
The magazine will reemerge in grand style, with its 16th edition (2022) formatted in digital and print versions. Guests will be able to access the magazine in seconds through a QR code visible on tent cards in all guest rooms throughout the country and at hospitality sector businesses. The publication will also be circulated in its usual oversized magazine print format and, for the first time, will be distributed on marketing trips and to subscribers worldwide on mobile-friendly flash drives. Magazines will be available at Turks & Caicos Tourist Board offices in Canada, New York, UK, and Turks & Caicos, and can be accessed and downloaded through the TCHTA’s website. The TCHTA will also be featuring more local writers for this edition of Destination Turks & Caicos.
The strength of the TCHTA lies in the continued support and engagement of its members. The association has retained its membership numbers throughout the pandemic and has seen considerable growth to date.
Since the onboarding of the new President and Board of Directors, the TCHTA’s membership numbers have grown by more than twenty with the majority being small local businesses instrumental in supplying services to the tourism sector.
TCHTA CEO, Stacy Cox, remarked “We could not ask for a more supportive membership and are truly thankful that we have been able to see such amazing growth throughout this tumultuous time. As new members come aboard, we become a more diverse group. Our aim at the association is ensuring we give continued support and service to all of our members and to the Turks and Caicos community.”
TCHTA President, Trevor Musgrove, is delighted with the early progress in these first 100 days. “At the beginning of the term, we looked at our five-year strategic plan and benchmarked where we stood to help us outline our goals and plan for the way forward. I am proud to say that we were fully on target. This was a direct result of the hard work of Past President Todd Foss and the previous Board who managed to keep the work of the association progressing despite the country being in the throes of a pandemic.”
He continued, “The TCHTA is a voice for the industry, but also for the people of these islands. I am committed to doing my best to lead this association and carry on the great work that has been started. I am privileged and excited to be working with this team of passionate individuals from all areas of the sector, and I am certain we will continue to represent our members, Turks & Caicos islanders, and brand TCI with excellence.”
North Caicos man beheaded in what could be TCIs most bizarre murder case yet
#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2021 – Explosive talk show host Courtney Misick lost his brother last weekend in a bizarre killing which raised alarm and left residents flabbergasted at the extreme violence, which pointed to a heinous killer being at large in North Caicos.
While police have now made two arrests; giving one suspect bail and holding another on suspicion in the gruesome killing, the pastor, farmer and former election candidate publically questioned the time it took for investigators to arrive at the scene.
He said, in a string of Facebook posts, that it was some six hours before police got there.
Royal TCI Police confirmed the body of the male found in a home in Kew North Caicos; that they got the call at 5:45pm.
“The Police can confirm that the body of a man was found inside a house in Kew, North Caicos and that the body was decapitated. Although formal identification procedures have not yet taken place, the body is believed to be that of 57-year-old old Isaac Missick. The Police are in contact with the next of kin at this difficult time,” informed a Thursday press release.
Rev Misick, at 11:30pm on Saturday posted that investigators from Provo had finally arrived; another team got in on Sunday morning.
Family was disappointed with North Caicos police manpower “wasting hours guarding the crime scene” instead of “looking for Mack-B’s killer.”
Isaac “Mack-B” Missick was beheaded and worst of all, his head could not be found at the scene of the crime. People were dumbfounded by the monstrous nature of the killing and the family was activated to mount their own hunt for the body part.
There was no success, however, for the family and friends of Mack-B. Relatives spent the day on Wednesday in Kew battling heat, the blazing sun and swarming mosquitoes in an effort to find the head.
Mack-B’s sister, niece, cousins and eldest son travelled to North from Providenciales determined to give it a try, said Orville Selver, a cousin of the deceased who also described the scope of the search: West of the victim’s house, in the bush from Hall town, to Henfield town, near the house of Mack Bs mother, who died in May this year; on Forbes road and near all the old wells.
Meanwhile police were questioning two suspects in the case, now ruled a murder. It is the TCI’s sixth homicide for 2021.
“Today, the Police made an application to the court to seek an extension to the time Officers can keep the arrested man in custody. The court case was adjourned until September 23rd, 2021, during which time the man will be held in police custody. The man arrested on Suspicion of Murder on Sunday, September 12th, 2021, has been released on police bail pending further investigation.”
It will most likely go down as the most gruesome killing in Turks and Caicos history; the beheading of this beloved North Caicos construction worker on Friday or Saturday at his home in Kew.
Our interview of his brother, Rev Missick, unearthed that Mack-B said he had to go home, he did so but never returned to work on Friday September 10. Upon being missed by some relatives, his cousin set out to check on him and the discovery was gut-wrenching.
Said to be a gory scene as the man, lay on the ground with no head. While relatives believed the head was at the scene, they later learned that it was missing.
From Police: “This is a very distressing and complex murder that will take time to investigate. However, many specialist Officers are involved in this case, and they are doing everything possible to fully understand the events leading up to this horrific attack. North Caicos is a very close community, and the Police seek their assistance in providing vital information to progress the investigation.”
Isaac Missick, leaves behind a wife and two sons.
PRESS RELEASE: Prime Minister Minnis Thanks Bahamians for the Last Four Years
#TheBahamas, September 18, 2021 – Free National Movement (FNM) Party Leader, Hubert A. Minnis thanked Bahamians for the last four years in tonight’s concession speech:
“Tonight I spoke with Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Philip Davis and offered my congratulations to him and his party on their victory at the polls. I offered him my best wishes as his Government now faces the continued fight against COVID-19, and the restoration of our economy.
I would like to thank the tens of thousands of Bahamians from across The Bahamas who voted for Free National Movement candidates. I also congratulate the FNM candidates who won seats in the House of Assembly. I am in that number, and again my gratitude goes out to the people of Killarney for making me their representative for the fourth consecutive time.
I will lead the Free National Movement into the House as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. The Bahamas has a proud democratic tradition. The people decide who serves as government. Our party presented its vision for the future to Bahamians from the northern islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, all the way to the southern islands of MICAL.
The people determined that they preferred the Progressive Liberal Party. My party and I accept that result. We are proud of our record the past four-plus years.
During our term we faced the most difficult times in Bahamian history. In September 2019, Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama were struck by the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas. Hurricane Dorian was one of the strongest storms recorded on our planet. It caused generational destruction to our northern islands. Six months later, we were in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout each crisis my Government worked hard to assist the Bahamian people. On the northern islands we have had to rebuild roads, water systems, schools, docks, bridges and other critical infrastructure.
In the pandemic, we provided tens of millions of dollars per month in food and unemployment benefits to citizens, along with tax credits to businesses. We fought hard to secure more than half a million doses of three of the best vaccines in the world.
The FNM has a proud legacy. We have governed The Bahamas over four terms. Our philosophy is to use the resources of government to provide opportunity to those who have historically been without. That is why we invested in free preschool, providing early education to thousands of children. That is why we invested in free tertiary education at the University of The Bahamas and BTVI.
That is why we created the Over-the-Hill initiative to benefit people in grassroots communities with tax concessions and development assistance. That is why we invested record amounts in Family Island infrastructure. That is why we created the Small Business Development Centre, extending millions of dollars to help Bahamians realize their dreams.
Our belief in the Bahamian people was also evidenced in the manifesto we ran on in this election. We pledged a Universal School Meals Program, expanded access to afterschool programs, $250 million to Bahamian small businesses over five years, expanded access to Crown Land, support for the arts and agriculture and fisheries, along with many more policies for the people.
We did not win this time. But I say to the next generation of FNMs that you should stay firm to this party’s founding ideals. Always put the people first, and be honest in government.
The people have asked us to be the opposition. We will ensure the people’s resources are spent properly. We will ensure there is accountability. We will oppose when necessary. We will agree when the Government’s plans are in the best interests of the people.
I thank my wife Patricia and my family for supporting me during this term, and throughout my life. I also thank the officers, members and supporters of the Free National Movement for their assistance and encouragement during my time as leader.
And to the Bahamian people, I say a warm and heartfelt thank you for my time being your Prime Minister. You are a strong, hardworking and resilient people. Hurricane Dorian did not break you. The pandemic has not broken you.
You trust in the God who has brought us this far. Trust that He will bring us further to brighter times. Again, thank you. And may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
BAHAMAS: PM Philip Davis Swearing In Speech
THE HON. PHILIP DAVIS, M.P., QC,
ON THE OCCASION OF
HIS CEREMONIAL SWEARING-IN AS
PRIME MINISTER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2021
BAHA MAR BALLROOM
Your Excellency, the Governor-General; First
Lady, Ann Marie Davis, Deputy Prime Minister
Elect, I. Chester Cooper and Mrs. Cooper, Honourable and Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I wish to thank the Bahamian people who turned out and voted resoundingly for change.
As I said on Thursday night, you voted with brave hearts, and you voted with hearts full of hope for our country.
It was unfortunate that many Bahamians who wished to participate in this election were not able to do so. It was the first time in modern Bahamian history that so many voters were disenfranchised – and I hope it is the last. The right to vote is the essential right in a democracy.
Our new administration comes into office at a time when the Bahamian people are hurting as never before.
In recent months, as I travelled the length and breadth of our beautiful country, many people shared with me their stories of hardship and need and despair.
Against that backdrop, we face the many crises borne out of the Covid-19 pandemic: tragic numbers of our people are becoming ill and dying; our hospitals in a state of collapse; our doctors and nurses and other frontline workers pleading for support to shore up our healthcare system.
The economy is also in decline, as we face an historically high deficit and debt. The news of the downgrade yesterday underscores the severity of the fiscal crisis and the urgency of moving quickly to address it.
The challenges in education also deeply concern me. Thousands of young Bahamians have missed out on their education during the past few years, first because of the displacement caused by Hurricane Dorian, then because of the way the Covid-19 crisis has been managed. These are indeed big challenges.
Some have questioned why we want to serve when the problems are so difficult. But my team and I offered ourselves for public service precisely because these problems are so difficult – and precisely because we believe that we have the right vision, the right policies, and the right team to take this country forward. We will not fail if we keep the best interests of the Bahamian people as our guiding north star.
As a young boy growing up in Cat Island, I faced many hardships and obstacles. I know what it is to be poor.
As a young man trying to find his first job, I faced doors that seemed always slammed shut. I know what it is to feel disappointment. As a lawyer trying to build a practice, I missed out on many opportunities because I didnt have the right connections.
I know what its like to be on the outside looking in. In my family life, I know the ups and downs of raising children and sending them out into the world. I am determined to take the wisdom gained from these experiences and use it to help others. It is possible to overcome. It is possible to work hard and succeed. It is possible to forgive. And it is possible to bring about the changes you wish to see.
These are the values that will inform my decisions in office. In just under two years time, we will celebrate fifty years of The Bahamas being a fully independent, sovereign nation. We must begin to deliver more purposefully the promise of Independence. Independence is more than freedom from rule by others. It is the defining purpose of our country, which says that every one of us is entitled to reach our fullest potential.
And so each day we will ask ourselves: What can we do to ensure that the aspirations and hopes of the Bahamian people are translated into opportunities and paths to success? Deep in my heart I know that with God, all things are possible”.
If we work together, towards a common purpose, in the common interest and for the common good, great things are indeed possible for our country and our people. But no government can do great things on its own. I am sure that my government can only succeed if we partner with the Bahamian people.
We are going to consult widely.
And we are going to bring people together.
That is the best way to make progress as a nation. No leader and no government should be isolated from the people.
I also commit to lifting the veil of secrecy on that which has gone before us, so that all of the arrangements under which we have to live are transparent, and those who authored them are accountable. We will govern in the interests of all Bahamians, not just the privileged few. We will act in ways that rebuild trust between the government and the Bahamian people. We will uphold the constitution and the rule of law, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly, so that its not one rule for one set of people, and another for another set of people.
There is much work to be done; but I know that by working together, we can succeed and build the kind of prosperous, independent Bahamas that our founding fathers dreamed for us. It will not happen overnight, but with steady progress, we will get there.
I pray God’s blessings and guidance upon us all, and in the words of St. Francis, “make us instruments of your peace; where there is discord, let me bring union; where there is doubt, let me bring faith; where there is despair, let me bring hope; where there is sadness, let me bring joy.”
I thank God for having blessed us with this beautiful country, and the bountiful birthright which we have inherited.
I thank the many people over the years who have supported me to this moment, where I am able to step into servant leadership for the benefit of the Bahamian people.
I thank my family, especially my wife Ann, and my children, my siblings, Alvin, Don, Craig and Trevor, my one and only sister, Diane, who every day continue to give me so much love and support.
And I thank the Bahamian people who have placed their faith and confidence in me and my team.
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